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01 June 2010 @ 04:46 pm
Bleachers and Conversation (Glee, 1/1)  
Summary: Puck and Rachel have a talk on the bleachers about costumes, popularity, and growing up. Coda to Theatricality.
Rating: T
Warnings: Seen the latest episode? You're good.
A/N: Did they ever give the other jock with Karofsky a name? I didn't notice, so I made one up for him.


After Glee practice Rachel changed out of her costume and walked out of the school, happy to take in the unseasonably warm spring weather while waiting for her dad to pick her up. However, a lone figure sitting on the bleachers caught her eye, and she couldn’t fight the curiosity that led her to the football field.

It was Noah, who had also changed out of his costume and into jeans and a plain white t-shirt. The clang of her foot on the metal steps startled him and he looked up, relaxing when he saw her. He had removed the face paint as well, or tried, at least. Whatever scrubbing he had done with soap and paper towels in the boys’ restroom had stripped away most of the paint, but streaks of red, black, and white still spotted his face, the side of his nose, the edge of his jaw, in his eyebrows and along his hairline. It made him look…softer, somehow. Younger. She forgot, sometimes, that he was just sixteen.

She sat down beside him as he looked out over the empty field. “What are you doing out here?”

“Thinking,” he mumbled, and a joke about him and thinking was on the tip of her tongue, but his face was solemn, so she held back. Today was not a day for teasing, it seemed.

“What about?”

He shrugged, the movement slow and lazy in the early evening light. “Dunno. This week, I guess. Been pretty wild.”

“Yes, I must say that I enjoyed our theatricality assignment.”

“Yeah, me too. Never thought that I’d think spandex, face paint, and wigs were fun, but…” He trailed off. “And then we all stood up for Hummel today.”

She nodded. “I was very proud of everyone for that. Anderson and Karofsky were being Neanderthals, and deserved to be taken down a peg or two.”

He shifted uncomfortably. “You know, you go back a couple months, and I would have been on the other side of that.”

She frowned, tucking her legs underneath her as she turned to face him. “I don’t think that’s true. While being very uncouth, you were still—”

He scoffed, interrupting her. “Bullshit. I was an asshole.” The corners of his mouth turned down. “I locked Artie in a porta-potty once. Got the whole football team together. We were gonna tip it. We only stopped because Finn made us.”

She was quiet for a moment, staring at her hands in her lap before looking back up. “That may be true, but you’re not that boy anymore, Noah. Would you do the same thing now?”

He sneered. “Doesn’t matter. I still throw people in dumpsters and spray dweebs with fire extinguishers.”

She caught his eye. “And do you do that because you want to, or because you feel like you’re supposed to?”

He looked away, and didn’t answer. There was something in the air, though, in the line of his shoulders, that made her keep prodding. “That’s not the only thing you’re thinking about, is it?”

The silence stretched on, and she thought maybe she’d pushed too far—

“They called us freaks,” he said, the words bursting out of him. “Not just you and the original gleeks, but all of us. Quinn and Santana and Brittany and Finn and Matt and Mike and me. Especially me—what the fuck is up with that? I’m a stud, a badass—I’m supposed to rule this school, be the most popular dude around. But now the other jocks look at me, and all they see is a freak.”

“And you’re uncomfortable with that,” she said sadly.

“Hell yes I am!” he exclaimed. But then he shifted, like there was more to it that he didn’t want to express. Rachel stayed silent and waited him out.

“But if being popular means acting like Anderson and Karofsky, means not being in Glee…” His voice was so low that she wouldn’t have heard him if she wasn’t sitting beside him. “…maybe I don’t want to be popular anymore.” He tipped his head back. “God, I don’t know what’s going on with me.”

She took his hand, his calloused fingertips rough against her skin. “I’d say you’re growing up.”

He rolled his head over to look at her. “Yeah? Well, growing up sucks.” She gave him a small smile and squeezed his hand, thinking back to his performance for Quinn.

“You’ve had to do that a lot, lately.”

“Yeah.” He swallowed and looked back out to the field. “I didn’t pay much attention to that Madonna shit when Mr. Schue made us do it, but now that Quinn’s about to pop any day…I think about all the girls I’ve treated like shit, everyone I’ve pushed into lockers or thrown into dumpsters or just looked at funny, and suddenly they’re all my baby girl—Beth,” he corrected himself, voice softening around the word, “they’re all Beth, and I just want to fucking hit something.”

He turned to her again, and her heart ached at the expression on his face. “I know I’m not going to, like, be there, or anything, but if she ever comes looking for me…I don’t want her to be ashamed of me.”

“She won’t be ashamed of you, Noah,” she assured him softly, and he scoffed.

“And how can you be so sure of that?”

“Because someone she should be ashamed of wouldn’t be feeling so guilty right now,” she said firmly. “You’re a lot better person than you give yourself credit for, Noah Puckerman.”

“Whatever,” he mumbled, eyes skidding away from hers, but she could still see the corner of his mouth quirk up as he rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. He looked back up at her. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” she replied, smiling, and her breath caught when he gave her a tentative smile in return. An actual smile, not one of his ever-present smirks. The setting sun painted everything in gold, and she wasn’t sure she’d ever seen this boy sitting beside her. It was nice to meet him.

He was still holding her hand.

The sudden chirp from her phone broke the stillness, and she jumped before fishing it out of her bag and reading the text she'd been sent.

“What’s up?” Noah asked gruffly.

“It’s just my dad. He wanted to let me know that he’s going to be late picking me up tonight. Something came up at work.”

He looked at her for a moment before responding. “Y’know, I can take you home, if you want.”

She ignored the tingly, fizzy feeling dancing along her skin. “I’d appreciate that.”

They exited the bleachers and headed to the parking lot, leaving the field to the approaching darkness.

cailet_06: spock_uhuracailet_06 on June 1st, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Really great fic! I enjoyed the tone of the writing!
countrygirl_914 on June 6th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)
daria_103 on June 1st, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
That was really great, like most one shots I read I'd really love to see it continued but I loved it as is too - very well written.
countrygirl_914 on June 6th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
Thanks! Hahaha, sorry, I don't see this ever being expanded, but I'm glad you liked it.
27_seconds: glee ➝ this kiss27_seconds on June 1st, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
I really loved this, it was so damn sweet :) Great job.

Edited at 2010-06-01 09:16 pm (UTC)
countrygirl_914 on June 6th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed.
Stefanny: Cas love gurubellakitse on June 1st, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
THIS!! <3, <3, <3

This right here is what I want for them, of course at a Puckleberry i want hot make out action but more then that i hope the writers will develop them in the future to something like this. Rachel and Puck are a lot alike and the loneliest of the group it's would make sense for them to understand where the other is coming from.

Lovely piece.
countrygirl_914 on June 6th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC)
Thank you! <333 I'm glad you loved it enough to comment.
Not tacky, just delusional: Puck/Racheltotally_loca on June 1st, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
*sigh* this made my heart sigh. So gorgeous and soft. I love your writing.
countrygirl_914 on June 6th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment. I'm glad you like my writing style.
Christina Bchrisfaithalin on June 1st, 2010 10:44 pm (UTC)
Awww. I really liked this. I think the how needs a scene or two like this to round out the whole Noah storyline. Great job.
countrygirl_914 on June 7th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Melissa: glee-puckelberry hugwander_lust_79 on June 1st, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
countrygirl_914 on June 7th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Sadiecomeundone on June 2nd, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
This was sweet. Very realistic too.
countrygirl_914 on June 7th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed enough to comment. Thanks!
ohfriedrice: Chuckohfriedrice on June 2nd, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
That was amazing. <3
countrygirl_914 on June 7th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Yay! Glad you liked. <333
nicki, chibi patton: halomusical_jay on June 2nd, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
I loved the simple power of this. Well done :)
countrygirl_914 on June 7th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Awwww, thanks!
kurope: glee__shipping irrelevantkurope on June 2nd, 2010 04:38 am (UTC)
Highly appropriate conversation! It's something I haven't seen tackled in a fanfic before about Puck. I admire how cleanly you managed to write it!
countrygirl_914 on June 7th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It was just something that really stuck out at me, how Puck was being included as one of the "freaks," and I really felt like that would bother him.
Joanne A.thewokstar on June 2nd, 2010 06:41 am (UTC)
@your A/N: The other jock's name is Azimio. (:
I'll comment again after reading.
countrygirl_914 on June 7th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'll have to keep that in mind for future fics.
wicked17writer: Eric & Bill Bromantic?wicked17writer on June 6th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
When i think of them approaching a true puck and rachael relationship on the show, this is what I see. Intmate moments of honest truth. Awesome job.
countrygirl_914 on June 7th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you! I'm glad you feel that way.